Avian and Swine Flu News StoriesExcerpts of Key Avian and Swine Flu News Stories in Major Media
Note: This comprehensive list of avian and swine flu news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
Worldwide cases of the new H1N1 swine flu virus are spreading so fast that overwhelmed global health officials have stopped counting and officials with the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say they'll soon follow suit. "We don't know the extent of the challenges that we'll face in the weeks and months ahead," said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for the Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. Schuchat did not elaborate on how the CDC would inform the public about the extent of the outbreak, which has been confirmed in more than 40,600 people and implicated in 263 deaths in the United States. WHO had reported nearly 95,000 cases including 429 deaths worldwide. Earlier Friday, WHO officials said tracking individual swine flu cases is too overwhelming for countries where the virus is spreading widely. WHO will no longer issue global totals of swine flu cases, although it will continue to track the global epidemic.
Note: Why would they stop counting cases? The numbers have always at best been estimates. Millions died in the 1918 flu epidemic and they have counted and reported those numbers extenstively. Could it be someone or some group does't want us to know how few are actually dying? For several other revealing articles which suggest an dangerous agenda with the swine flu vaccine, click here.
The Pentagon is preparing to make troops available if necessary to help the Federal Emergency Management Agency tackle a potential outbreak of the H1N1 virus this fall, FOX News has confirmed. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is preparing to sign an order authorizing the military to set up five regional teams to deal with the potential outbreak of H1N1 influenza if FEMA requests help. A senior U.S. defense official told FOX News that the plan calls for military task forces to work in conjunction with the FEMA. No final decision has been reached on how the military effort would be manned, but one source said it likely would include personnel from all branches of the military. It is not known how many troops would be needed and whether they would come from the active duty or the National Guard and Reserve forces. In the event of a major outbreak, civilian authorities would lead any relief efforts, the official said. The military, as it would for a natural disaster or other significant emergency situation, could provide support and fulfill any tasks that civilian authorities could not, such as air transport or testing of large numbers of viral samples from infected patients. As a first step, military leaders have asked Gates to authorize planning for the potential assistance. Orders to deploy actual forces would be reviewed later, depending on how much of a health threat the flu poses this fall, the officials said.
Note: In conjunction with all the other evidence that the swine flu scare is bogus, it appears that it may also be designed to provide a "wedge" to break down the prohibition, established by the Posse Comitatus Act, against use of military troops in domestic operations. For many revealing reports from reliable sources on government and military threats to civil liberties, click here.
A swelling number of scientists believe swine flu has not happened by accident. No: they argue that [it] is the direct result of our demand for cheap meat. So is the way we produce our food really making us sick as a pig? The scientific evidence increasingly suggests that we have unwittingly invented an artificial way to accelerate the evolution of these deadly viruses – and pump them out across the world. They are called factory farms. They manufacture low-cost flesh, with a side-dish of viruses to go. In most swine farms today, 6,000 pigs are crammed snout-to-snout in tiny cages where they can barely move, and are fed for life on an artificial pulp, while living on top of cess-pools of their own stale faeces. The virus ... has a pool of thousands [of pigs], constantly infecting and reinfecting each other. The virus can combine and recombine again and again. The ammonium from the waste they live above burns the pigs' respiratory tracts, making it easier yet for viruses to enter them. Better still, the pigs' immune systems are in free-fall. They are stressed, depressed, and permanently in panic, making them far easier to infect. There is no fresh air or sunlight to bolster their natural powers of resistance. They live in air thick with viral loads, and they are exposed every time they breathe in. As Dr Michael Greger, director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States, explains: "Put all this together, and you have a perfect storm environment for these super-strains. If you wanted to create global pandemics, you'd build as many of these factory farms as possible."
Note: For many important reports on health issues from reliable sources, click here.
An inventory of potentially deadly pathogens at Fort Detrick's infectious disease laboratory found more than 9,000 vials that had not been accounted for, Army officials said yesterday, raising concerns that officials wouldn't know whether dangerous toxins were missing. After four months of searching about 335 freezers and refrigerators at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Frederick, investigators found 9,220 samples that hadn't been included in a database of about 66,000 items listed as of February, said Col. Mark Kortepeter, the institute's deputy commander. The vials contained some dangerous pathogens, among them the Ebola virus, anthrax bacteria and botulinum toxin, and less lethal agents such as Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus and the bacterium that causes tularemia. Most of them, forgotten inside freezer drawers, hadn't been used in years or even decades. Officials said some serum samples from hemorrhagic fever patients dated to the Korean War. The overstock and the previous inaccuracy of the database raised the possibility that someone could have taken a sample outside the lab with no way for officials to know something was missing. The institute has been under pressure to tighten security in the wake of the 2001 anthrax attacks, which killed five people and sickened 17. FBI investigators say they think the anthrax strain used in the attacks originated at the Army lab, and its prime suspect, Bruce E. Ivins, researched anthrax there. Ivins committed suicide last year during an investigation into his activities.
Note: Fort Detrick is the home of the government lab which is suspected to be involved with the creation of many previously unknown lethal viruses and germs. For lots more, see the excellent work of Dr. Leonard Horowitz at this link and this one.
An Australian researcher claims the swine flu, which has killed at least 64 people so far, might not be a mutation that occurred naturally but a man-made product of genetic experiments accidently leaked from a laboratory -- a theory the World Health Organization is taking very seriously. Adrian Gibbs, a scientist on the team that was behind the development of Tamiflu, says in a report he is submitting today that swine flu might have been created using eggs to grow viruses and make new vaccines, and could have been accidently leaked to the general public. "It might be some sort of simple error that's not being recognized," Gibbs said on ABC's "Good Morning America." In an interview with Bloomberg Television, Gibbs admitted there are other ways to explain swine flu's origin. "One of the simplest explanations if that it's a laboratory escape, but there are lots of others," he said. Regardless of the validity of Gibb's claims, he and several experts say that just bringing the idea of laboratory security to the public's attention is important. "There are lives at risk," Gibbs said. "The sooner this idea gets out, the better."
Note: What would cause one of the developers of Tamiflu to make such a statement? If you read between the lines, there is much more here than meets the eye. For lots more on this intriguing development, click here.
After a few days of breathless H1N1 flu coverage - some of it on his own network - CNN commentator Jack Cafferty noted that 13,000 people have died from the "regular ol' flu" this year in the United States, compared with just one confirmed H1N1 flu death. Cafferty then asked his audience to respond to his online poll asking "if swine flu coverage was overblown." He waited a moment, then said, "Hint: Yes." For a week, the flu story has whet cable TV's bloodlust with what the 24-hour cable news vacuum craves: mystery, death and great visuals that inspire fear. "Frankly, I've been a little horrified by how sensationalist and scare-mongering it is," said Vivian Schiller, chief executive officer of National Public Radio. No detail about the flu - often delivered without context - has been too tiny to go unreported, which means that cable TV viewers are getting coverage that is moment-to-moment but often not terribly useful. Conservative talk radio hosts have used fear about the flu to segue to anti-immigrant remarks and calls to close the U.S.-Mexico border.Just when the coverage appeared to be calming a bit Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden helped rekindle fears by saying on the "Today'" show that he "would tell members of my family - and I have - I wouldn't go anywhere in confined places now." Health stories always attract huge audiences, said Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center. But viewers shouldn't expect as much breathless coverage when Congress begins debating an overhaul of the U.S. health care system over the next few months.
Note: For an excellent article showing how media fear-mongering of this and past flu emergencies have brought unprecedented profits to the pharmaceutical companies, click here.
In February 1976, an outbreak of swine flu struck Fort Dix Army base in New Jersey, killing a 19-year-old private and infecting hundreds of soldiers. Concerned that the U.S. was on the verge of a devastating epidemic, President Gerald Ford ordered a nationwide vaccination program at a cost of $135 million (some $500 million in today's money). Within weeks, reports surfaced of people developing Guillain-Barré syndrome, a paralyzing nerve disease that can be caused by the vaccine. By April, more than 30 people had died of the condition. Facing protests, federal officials abruptly canceled the program on Dec. 16. The epidemic failed to materialize. Medical historians and epidemiologists say ... the decisions made in the wake of the '76 outbreak — and the public's response to them — provide a cautionary tale for public health officials, who may soon have to consider whether to institute draconian measures to combat the disease. "I think 1976 provides an example of how not to handle a flu outbreak," says Hugh Pennington, an emeritus professor of virology at Britain's University of Aberdeen. Despite modern advances in microbiology, today's health officials still make decisions in a "cloud of uncertainty," Pennington says. "At the moment, our understanding of the current outbreak is similarly limited. For example, we don't yet understand why people are dying in Mexico but not elsewhere." Howard Markel, director of the Center for the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan and a historical consultant to the CDC on flu pandemics, says the most vexing decision facing health officials is when to institute mass vaccination programs.
Note: To watch two short commercials made in 1976 showing clear scare tactics, click here. Then read about and watch a highly revealing 60 Minutes segment covering this deception. Only one person died from the actual flu in this 1976 "epidemic," yet more than 30 died of the flu vaccine. To explore the serious risks of vaccines reported in the media, click here. For lots more on bird and swine flu scares, click here.
As the World Health Organization raised its infectious disease alert level Wednesday and health officials confirmed the first death linked to swine flu inside U.S. borders, scientists studying the virus are coming to the consensus that this hybrid strain of influenza -- at least in its current form -- isn't shaping up to be as fatal as the strains that caused some previous pandemics. In fact, the current outbreak of the H1N1 virus, which emerged in San Diego and southern Mexico late last month, may not even do as much damage as the run-of-the-mill flu outbreaks that occur each winter without much fanfare. "Let's not lose track of the fact that the normal seasonal influenza is a huge public health problem that kills tens of thousands of people in the U.S. alone and hundreds of thousands around the world," said Dr. Christopher Olsen, a molecular virologist who studies swine flu at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine in Madison. Flu viruses are known to be notoriously unpredictable, and this strain could mutate at any point -- becoming either more benign or dangerously severe. But mounting preliminary evidence from genetics labs, epidemiology models and simple mathematics suggests that the worst-case scenarios are likely to be avoided in the current outbreak. "This virus doesn't have anywhere near the capacity to kill like the 1918 virus," which claimed an estimated 50 million victims worldwide, said Richard Webby, a leading influenza virologist at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
Note: For lots more on bird and swine flu scares, click here.
Pharmaceutical stocks are skyrocketing on fears that a swine flu outbreak could go global. Manufacturers of antiviral drugs [and] companies gearing up to produce a vaccine ... are turning profits in an otherwise skittish and down market. Companies gearing up for swine flu, including Roche, Gilead Sciences and GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturers of the leading antiviral flu medications, are best positioned to see a boost in profits if the disease escalates to epidemic proportions, analysts said. Tamiflu ... was developed by Gilead and manufactured by Roche. Both companies' share prices spiked soon after the U.S. government allowed for its stockpiles of the drug to be made publicly available. Gilead stock surged to $47.53 at the end of the day Monday, up 3.78 percent. Roche rose to $31.72, up 4.34 percent. The other major flu drug currently on the market is Relenza, also stockpiled and released by the government, and manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline. Shares of Glaxo closed surged Monday to $31.56, up 7.57 percent. Both Tamiflu and Relenza are stockpiled by governments and in the case of an outbreak the companies are often required to sell the drugs directly to the government at a discount. "Government stockpiling is viewed as boon for profits. Though the government gets a discount and the margins sold to the government are lower than those if they sold to Walgreens, from a stock perspective it's an unexpected positive surprise," he said.
Note: Pharmaceutical companies make big bucks from scares like the avian flu and swine flu. Yet are the recommended drugs really effective? Many studies say they are not. For analysis of profiteering by the pharmaceutical industry during a previous flu scare, click here. See this link for lots more.
The company that released contaminated flu virus material from a plant in Austria confirmed Friday that the experimental product contained live H5N1 avian flu viruses. And an official of the World Health Organization's European operation said the body is closely monitoring the investigation into the events that took place at Baxter International's research facility in Orth-Donau, Austria. The contaminated product, a mix of H3N2 seasonal flu viruses and unlabelled H5N1 viruses, was supplied to an Austrian research company. The Austrian firm, Avir Green Hills Biotechnology, then sent portions of it to sub-contractors in the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Germany. The contamination incident, which is being investigated by the four European countries, came to light when the subcontractor in the Czech Republic inoculated ferrets with the product and they died. Ferrets shouldn't die from exposure to human H3N2 flu viruses. Public health authorities concerned about what has been described as a "serious error" on Baxter's part have assumed the death of the ferrets meant the H5N1 virus in the product was live. But the company, Baxter International Inc., has been parsimonious about the amount of information it has released about the event. On Friday, the company's director of global bioscience communications confirmed what scientists have suspected. "It was live," Christopher Bona said in an email. Accidental release of a mixture of live H5N1 and H3N2 viruses could have resulted in dire consequences.
Note: How on earth did the avian flu virus ever get into vaccines? Could it be that this was planned? For a powerful book by a Harvard-trained dentist suggesting there may be a hidden force behind the spread of deadly infectious diseases, click here. For more revealing reports on bird flu, click here.
Virtually all the dominant strain of flu in the United States this season is resistant to the leading antiviral drug Tamiflu, and scientists and health officials are trying to figure out why. The problem is not yet a public health crisis because this has been a below-average flu season so far, and because the Tamiflu-resistant strain, one of three circulating, is still susceptible to other drugs. But infectious disease specialists are worried nonetheless. Last winter, about 11 percent of the throat swabs from patients with the most common type of flu that were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for genetic typing showed a Tamiflu-resistant strain. This season, 99 percent do. “It’s quite shocking,” said Dr. Kent A. Sepkowitz, director of infection control at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. “We’ve never lost an antimicrobial this fast. It blew me away.” The single mutation that creates Tamiflu resistance appears to be spontaneous, and not a reaction to overuse of the drug. Complicating the problem, antiviral drugs work only if taken within the first 48 hours of infection.
Note: Isn't Tamiflu the same drug that was, according the the U.K.'s respected Independent, "bought in massive amounts by Governments to treat a possible human pandemic of the disease [avian flu]," and from which Donald Rumsfeld "made more than $5m in capital gains from selling shares"? What ever happened to all the panic about the avian flu? Could it be that it was only fear mongering? For reliable information on this key topic, click here.
Behind the county hospital's tall cinderblock walls, a 27-year-old tuberculosis patient ... sits in a jail cell equipped with a ventilation system that keeps germs from escaping. Robert Daniels has been locked up indefinitely, perhaps for the rest of his life, since last July. But he has not been charged with a crime. Instead, he suffers from an extensively drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis. It is considered virtually untreatable. County health authorities obtained a court order to lock him up as a danger to the public because ... he did not heed doctors' instructions to wear a mask in public. "I'm being treated worse than an inmate," Daniels said. "I'm all alone. Four walls. Even the door to my room has been locked. I haven't seen my reflection in months." He said sheriff's deputies will not let him take a shower -- he cleans himself with wet wipes -- and have taken away his television, radio, personal phone and computer. His only visitors are masked medical staff members who come in to give him his medication. Though Daniels' confinement is extremely rare, health experts say it is a situation that U.S. public health officials may have to confront more and more because of the spread of drug-resistant TB and the emergence of diseases such as SARS and avian flu.
Note: If the above link fails, click here. What possible reason is there for taking away this man's TV, radio, cell phone, and computer? Are we being prepared for mass quarantines and imprisonment due to disease? For more, click here.
Japanese health authorities are investigating a flu medicine that is also available in Australia after a teenager jumped 11 storeys to his death after taking the drug. It was the 18th juvenile fatality linked to Tamiflu in 17 months. The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has asked the Japanese importer of Tamiflu, an anti-viral drug regarded as the most important shield against bird flu in humans, to collect information about the conditions of patients who take the drug. The 14-year-old boy's death follows a similar case two weeks ago, when a girl also 14, died after jumping from an apartment building at Gamagori, in central Japan. It also comes after a warning by the US Food and Drug Administration late last year about the dangers of giving children Tamiflu. The drug is being stockpiled in Australia as the first line of defence against bird flu. In Australia, as in Japan, it is only available by prescription. Drug companies reported that 54 people using Tamiflu died in Japan before November, the ministry said.
Note: Tamiflu is the vaccine on which Donald Rumsfeld profited $5 million and on which the U.S. government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars stockpiling, even though it might not work. For more, click here.
A federal advisory committee on Tuesday recommended approval of the first bird flu vaccine for humans, despite concerns about its safety and evidence that the shots won't protect most people. The panel said although the vaccine had significant shortcomings, it was safe and effective for use during a pandemic or in high-risk situations, such as military deployment to regions facing an outbreak. The government plans to buy and stockpile enough doses for 20 million people. [The] director of the FDA's vaccine office told the panel that the vaccine was a stopgap measure. "There are numerous vaccines under development that are potentially better than this one," he said. The bird flu strain known as H5N1 originated in Asia. Although it rarely infects people, experts fear a mutation could make it easily transmissible, triggering a pandemic. From the start of 2003, 167 people, mostly in Asia, have died of the virus, according to the World Health Organization. In clinical trials, a two-shot series of the Sanofi vaccine provided protection in 45% of adults who received the highest dose, according to an FDA analysis this week. No serious side effects were detected among the 450 healthy adults who participated in a clinical test. However, some panel members were concerned that the trial was too small to reveal rare side effects. Some experts also worried about possible allergic reactions to the vaccine because it requires a massive dose — 12 times that of the seasonal inoculation.
Note: Who pays for and who profits from the purchase of these 20 million vaccine doses? It's pretty clear that the taxpayer covers the costs and the big drug companies make huge profits. Fear is quite useful for driving up profits. For lots more on profiteering from the avian flu, click here.
Cities should close schools for up to three months in the event of a severe flu outbreak, ball games and movies should be canceled ... the federal government advised today in issuing new pandemic flu guidelines to states and cities. Health officials acknowledged that such measures would hugely disrupt public life, but they argued that these measure would buy the time needed to produce vaccines and would save lives. “We have to be prepared for a Category 5 pandemic,” said Dr. Martin Cetron, director of global migration and quarantine for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “It’s not easy. The only thing that’s harder is facing the consequences.” The new guidelines also advocate having sick people and all their families' even apparently healthy members stay home for 7 to 10 days. Any pandemic is expected to move faster than a new vaccine can be produced. Current experimental vaccines against H5N1 avian flu are in short supply and based on strains isolated in 2004 or 2005. Although the government is creating a $4 billion stockpile of the antiviral drug Tamiflu, it is only useful when taken within the first 48 hours, and Tamiflu-resistant flu strains have already been found. The historian John Barry, author of “The Great Influenza,” a history of the 1918 flu, questioned an idea underpinning the study’s conclusions. There is evidence, he said, that some cities with low sickness and death rates in 1918 ... were hit by a milder spring wave of the virus. That would have, in effect, inoculated their citizens against the more severe fall wave and might have been more important than their public health measures.
Note: Why is it that government officials seem to want us to be afraid? Could it be that when we live in fear, we are more willing to give up our freedoms and money and allow them to be in control? For more, click here. And why would the government spend billions on stockpiling drugs of questionable use? For an answer, click here.
Federal health authorities have signed a two-year deal to help states buy more than half a billion dollars worth of the antiviral drug Tamiflu as a hedge against a pandemic of deadly avian influenza, but there is a catch: States will have to pay for three-quarters of it. Under terms of the deal negotiated with Roche by the Department of Health and Human Services, the states can order up to 31 million packets of Tamiflu -- each containing a 10-pill course of treatment -- for a total cost of $596 million over the next two years. The Bush administration announced late Friday that it had contracted with Swiss drugmaker Roche Laboratories Inc. to supply Tamiflu for stockpiles in all 50 states. The federal government, meanwhile, plans to build its own centralized stockpile. The plan is to have enough antiviral drug in state and federal warehouses by December 2008 to treat 81 million people. Tamiflu is considered by scientists to be the first line of defense against the H5N1 strain of bird flu. The disease is currently confined primarily to chickens, ducks and some wild waterfowl, but researchers fear it could mutate into a form that spreads easily among humans.
Note: No mention is made here that Donald Rumsfeld has already made millions from sales of Tamiflu, and that he was on the board of the company that developed the drug. Many top researchers also believe there is little chance of avian flu mutating. Why are we spending hundreds of millions of dollars to combat a virus which has not even mutated yet? To verify these and other vital facts, see http://www.WantToKnow.info/avianflu
A human pandemic caused by A(H5N1) is by no means inevitable. Many researchers doubt it will ever happen. The virus does not infect people easily, and those who do contract it almost never spread it to other humans. Bird flu is what the name implies: mostly an avian disease. It has infected tens of millions of birds but fewer than 200 people, and nearly all of them have caught it from birds. But when A(H5N1) does get into people, it can be deadly. It has killed more than half of its known human victims -- an extraordinarily high rate. The virus lacks just one trait that could turn it into a pandemic: transmissibility. Everything hangs on transmissibility. But it is impossible to predict whether A(H5N1) will become contagious among people. Most bird flu viruses do not jump species to people. Some experts say that since A(H5N1) has been around for at least 10 years and the shift has not occurred, it is unlikely to happen. Others refuse to take that bet. The best protection in any flu pandemic will come from a vaccine, but scientists cannot tell ahead of time what strain the vaccine should protect against. There is no assurance that the next pandemic will even involve A(H5N1). It may involve a different strain of bird flu, and an A(H5N1) vaccine would not work for it.
Note: Many thanks to the Times for this rare article which largely dispels fears rather than increasing them. For more excellent information on the avian flu, see http://www.WantToKnow.info/avianflu
Two research teams have independently discovered explanations for the chief features of the H5N1 bird flu virus -- its difficulty infecting humans, and the deadly effects when it does. Unlike influenza viruses that are passed easily between people, H5N1 has a hard time attaching to cells in the nose, throat and upper airways. But it readily attaches to cells deep in the lungs. This suggests that people need close and heavy exposure to the H5N1 virus for it to get into the lungs.
Note: Yet governments have already spent many millions of dollars stockpiling Tamiflu believing that avian flu will mutate and cause a pandemic killing millions. And top government officials have already made many millions of dollars on stocks related to Tamiflu--the drug designed to combat a deadly virus which hasn't even mutated yet to know if the drug works! Remember that generating fear in the public is one of the best ways to make a profit. For lots more, click here.
Americans consider the United States to be a country where debate flourishes. Yet with regard to avian flu, hyped sound bites predominate. When President Bush asked Congress for $7.1 billion toward "pandemic flu preparedness," even his critics replied "not enough." What is lacking in the overall discussion about pandemic flu is disagreement, criticism, and skepticism - once the bedrock of science - from researchers willing to question and test the data. Some facts: According to the World Health Organization, the first "outbreak" of the H5N1 virus, also known as avian flu, killed six people in 1997. Since then, H5N1 has allegedly killed 97 more worldwide, the majority of whom lived in poor, rural areas and had direct contact with dead or sick birds often kept in unsanitary conditions. These numbers do not suggest the human population faces an insurmountable threat from this virus. Peter Palese, flu scientist at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, told The New York Times in a Nov. 8, 2005 article that H5N1 is a false alarm. The virus has been "around for more than a dozen years, but it hasn't jumped into the human population." The reason? It probably can't. There are better ways to promote America's health than selling sickness through the language of fear. Before the government employs "all instruments of national power," including "quarantine authority," as the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza declares, we need to be told what "pandemic flu" really means.
Note: Not mentioned are the huge profits reaped by the drug companies and their political supporters thanks to the intense fear of bird flu generated by the media. For more: http://www.WantToKnow.info/healthcoverup
The US Defence Secretary has made more than $5m (Ł2.9m) in capital gains from selling shares in the biotechnology firm that discovered and developed Tamiflu, the drug being bought in massive amounts by Governments to treat a possible human pandemic of the disease. More than 60 countries have so far ordered large stocks of the antiviral medication - the only oral medicine believed to be effective against the deadly H5N1 strain of the disease - to try to protect their people. The United Nations estimates that a pandemic could kill 150 million people worldwide. The drug was developed by a Californian biotech company, Gilead Sciences. Mr Rumsfeld was on the board of Gilead from 1988 to 2001, and was its chairman from 1997. He then left to join the Bush administration, but retained a huge shareholding. The 2005 report showed that, in all, he owned shares worth up to $95.9m, from which he got an income of up to $13m. The firm made a loss in 2003, the year before concern about bird flu started. Then revenues from Tamiflu almost quadrupled, to $44.6m, helping put the company well into the black. Sales almost quadrupled again, to $161.6m last year.
Note: If the above link fails, click here. With both the avian flu and swine flu, top drug companies raked in billions of dollars from sales of medications and vaccines, most of which went unused and have now expired. For many more strange coincidences and facts around the avian and swine flu scares, take a look at our summary of eye-opening news articles available here.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.